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Sadie McKenzie, now 63, told her husband after the earthquake, “Don’t worry about what people think. A lot of people will not be in heaven because they worried about what people thought.” (Andrew McChesney / Adventist Mission)

No Stale Food

Sadie worried what her husband, Marcus, would say when he found out that she wanted to be baptized.

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, Feb. 17. Click here for photos to share while telling the mission story.

By Andrew McChesney, Adventist Mission

Sadie [pronounced: SAY-dee] worried what her husband, Marcus, would say when he found out that she wanted to be baptized at an evangelistic series in Belize.

She had attended the meetings every night, but Marcus had refused to go. She knew he wouldn’t like her decision because it meant she would stop dancing, drinking, and going to parties with him.

Sadie waited until Thursday night, two days before her baptism, to break the news. She knew just when she wanted to make the announcement. Marcus always stretched out an arm after lying down in bed, and Sadie always rested her head against it. So, Sadie waited until her head was comfortably resting on his arm before speaking.

“I’m going to be baptized on Sabbath,” she said, softly.

Marcus immediately yanked away his arm, and his face darkened with anger.

“I’ll leave you,” he said. “If you get baptized, you’ll have to live with the Adventists.”

He raged for a while, and Sadie listened until he paused. Then she spoke.

“If you leave me, God is going to make me happy without you,” she said.

Marcus didn’t say another word and rolled over to sleep.

The next day, Marcus grumbled about the trials that he thought he would face with an Adventist wife. “I don’t want to eat stale food on Saturdays,” he said. “I don’t want to eat food made on Friday.”

Sadie said, “If you don’t want stale food, I will make you food that will keep.”

The answer didn’t satisfy him. “If you go through with this, I’ll beat you the next time I see you,” he said.

Sadie was scared, and she asked people at the evangelistic meetings to pray for her. She also prayed for God’s protection.

Marcus wasn’t home when she returned from her baptism on Sabbath. But her heart began to pound when he walked in the front door. She was sure that he was going to beat her.

Instead, Marcus hugged her and said, “So, you’re a new woman now.” He quickly added, “I will never go to the Adventist Church as long as I live.”

“That’s your choice,” Sadie replied. “God gives everyone freedom to choose. But when you get to the end of the road, don’t blame me. I showed you the way.”

Life went on as normal after the baptism except Marcus complained about his Sabbath meals. He wanted Sadie to cook for him on Saturday and accused her of disobeying him. He refused to eat the food that she prepared and instead went to a bar near the Adventist church to eat. He also drank there while she was in church and greeted her with a drunken hug when she walked past on her way home.

Sadie prayed for God to touch her husband’s heart. She began ironing his best clothes every Friday so he would have something to wear to church.

One Friday, Marcus agreed to go to church the next day. But that night he went to the movies and then a bar.

Shortly after he returned home, a powerful earthquake shook the house. Marcus was terrified, and he fell to the floor. “God,” he cried out. “Spare my life and give me a second chance.”

Sadie spoke sternly to her husband.

“Just like when the earthquake comes and no one knows it’s coming, Jesus also will come,” she said. “You won’t be prepared.”

The house shook for what seemed like an eternity, and Marcus cried the whole time. A neighbor saw him crying through the house’s open door.

When the earthquake stopped, Marcus began to have second thoughts.

“I’m not going to church because people will say I came because of the earthquake,” he said.

“Don’t worry about what people think,” Sadie said. “A lot of people will not be in heaven because they worried about what people thought.”

Marcus went to church.

A short time later, an evangelistic series was held in the village, and Sadie invited her husband to go. But he drank instead. The second night he was drunk again. On the third night, she told him, “If you go with your friends instead of me, it means you love them more than me. If that’s your decision, you can stay with them.”

Marcus attended the meetings and went forward for the altar call. Sadie didn’t dare hope that he would be baptized until she saw him come out of the water. “I wept,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Sadie and Marcus became faithful church leaders in Belize. Sadie, who is now 63, has led six evangelistic campaigns that resulted in more than 50 baptisms. Hundreds more have joined the church through her and Marcus’ influence.

Part of the 2015 Thirteenth Sabbath Offering went to build a campground where the Adventist Church can hold regular evangelistic meetings in Belize. Thank you for your mission offering.

Sadie McKenzie, 63, explains why she serves Jesus. (Andrew McChesney / Adventist Mission)

Read Sadie’s conversion story on page 24 of the Children’s Mission quarterly or online here.

For photos to share with this and other mission stories, visit the Facebook page for the Mission quarterlies

For this and other mission stories, download the adult and youth Mission quarterly (PDF)